Paulo Flores

Perto do Fim

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Paulo Flores records consistently high-quality releases. Perto do Fim (Close to the End in English) is no exception to this artist's formidable catalog -- some of which are unfortunately out of print. The sound quality on this recording and the previous album, Inocenti, is an improvement over the under-recorded levels of Brincadeira Tem Hora. Flores shares the songwriting here with two other pinions of Angolan music, Eduardo Paim and Filipe Zau. They have put together an album with much drive, lyricism, and rhythm. It's hard to top Paulo Flores when the percussive grooves are this good. The simple riffs belie an intricate rhythmic texture that is hypnotic. His vocals are strong throughout the album and echo the plaintive wail of a country that has been beleaguered for many decades. Amidst the confusion and strife, Angolans remember to dance their traditions to keep them alive and vital. There are many standouts on this album: "Como Vai Mana Xiquita" stretches out in an extended mellow groove and takes you right into the album's whole rhythmic spectrum; "O Que e Que Fica?" is a tight semba, the rhythmic root of the Brasilian samba; "Serenata a Angola" is a serenade to Angola done as a loping rhythm that builds in intensity; "Coisas da Terra" is Afro-Zouk at its best; "Esta a Chegar a Hora," arranged by Banda Maravilla who also appear on Angola '90s, starts with a strong accordion solo and then lays out a samba that could sear flesh; and "Refrao da Despedida" closes out a masterwork by telling the people of Angola not to despair; light is coming their way. This album throws much light on what Paulo Flores can do for the soul and for the dancing body.

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